The Classic Dino-Mite Quizathon – By Philip Smolen

It seems that as long as there have been motion pictures, there have been movies about dinosaurs. From Windsor McKay’s famous animated short “Gertie the Dinosaur” (1912) to next year’s “Jurassic Park IV”, Hollywood has continued to pump out movie after movie featuring those majestic creatures that dominated our world eons ago. And if you’re a baby boomer like me, you grew up in front of the cathode-ray baby sitter and watched dozens of dinosaur movies throughout your childhood, over and over again. So this month to celebrate more than one hundred years of dinosaur movies, here’s a special quiz on those prehistoric (and pre-CGI) delights that kept kids glued to their TV sets. The answers to the questions can be found at the end of the quiz along with a handy dandy scorecard. Enjoy!

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1. How many movies featuring giant dinosaurs did Japanese maestro Ishiro Honda direct for Toho pictures during his illustrious career?

a. 7
b. 11
c. 25
d. 32

2. In the sequel “Son of Kong” (1933), most of the creatures featured in the movie are of a fantastic nature. What is the one actual dinosaur that makes an appearance?

a. An Apatosaurus
b. A Styracosaurus
c. A Pteradon
d. A Ceratosaurus

3. According to cinematic legend, when producer Robert Lippert was preparing to film “The Lost Continent” (1951), he took a look at Ray Harryhausen’s early stop motion dinosaur experiments before summarily dismissing him. What other famous individual accompanied Ray to the studio that day?

a. Dr. Theodore Geisel (aka Dr. Seuss)
b. Forest J. Ackerman
c. Willis O’Brien
d. Ray Bradbury

4. The popular 1960s TV series “The Munsters” used a prop dinosaur head for their fire-breathing pet “Spot.” What dinosaur film was “Spot” first created for?

a. The Giant Behemoth (1959)
b. King Kong (1933)
c. The Land Unknown (1957)
d. Dinosaurus! (1960)

5. In 1956 Ray Harryhausen and Willis O’Brien collaborated to create the amazing stop motion dinosaur footage for Irwin Allen’s documentary “The Animal World.” What later fantastic film used this footage?

a. Trog (1970)
b. Creatures the World Forgot (1971)
c. Prehistoric Women (1967)
d. The Mountain at the Top of the World (1971)

6. What Japanese “Kaiju Ega” film attempted to fully explain how Godzilla was created?

a. Godzilla 1985
b. Revenge of Godzilla (1959)
c. Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah (1992)
d. Terror of Mechagodzilla (1975)

7. In the 1959 Eugene Lourie dinosaur flick “The Giant Behemoth”, why was it important to destroy the Paleosaurus without blowing it to bits?

a. The monster was extremely radioactive
b. the Behemoth was loaded with a deadly corrosive acid
c. The creature’s blood contained an unknown virus
d. The dinosaur’s toxic flatulence could overpower the city

8. Irwin Allen released his remake of “The Lost World” in1960. Exactly where was the lost plateau of dinosaurs located?

a. In Antarctica
b. In the Canadian wilderness
c. In a South American jungle
d. On a remote Pacific island

9. 1964’s “The Sound of Horror” featured a very unique prehistoric menace. What made this dinosaur so different?

a. It came from another planet
b. It didn’t consider humans a threat
c. It was an expert dancer
d. It was invisible

10. What was the only pre-CGI dinosaur film to be nominated for an Academy Award for Visual Effects?

a. One Million Years BC (1966)
b. When Dinosaurs Ruled the Earth (1971)
c. Gorgo (1961)
d. King Kong (1933)

11. In 1988 famed cartoonist Don Bluth struck box office gold with his animated gem “The Land Before Time.” How many direct-to video sequels have been made since the original was released?

a. twelve
b. nine
c. ten
d. eight

12. In the dino magnum opus “Gorgo” (1961), why was the creature called “Gorgo”?

a. It was a descendent of the actual Gorgosaurus dinosaur
b. It was given that name by the young boy Sean (Vincent Winters)
c. It was so frightening that it was named after the fearful mythological Gorgon
d. It was named after one of the first people who saw it

13. How many film appearances did Godzilla’s son (aka “Minya”) make in the Japanese series of big “G” films?

a. two
b. three
c. four
d. five

14. In Ray Harryhausen’s wonderful “The Valley of Gwangi” (1969) how many different dinosaurs appear in the film?

a. four
b. seven
c. one
d. five

15. The low budget dino fest “The Beast of Hollow Mountain” (1956) was based on an idea from what famous Hollywood filmmaker?

a. Ray Harryhausen
b. Merrian C. Cooper
c. George Pal
d. Willis O’Brien

16. Classic dino films usually have a scene where the hero uses modern technology to destroy the prehistoric menace. Which one of these films lists the incorrect method of killing the title beast?

a. Dinosaurus (1960) – a construction crane
b. The Crater Lake Monster (1977) – a dump truck
c. The Giant Behemoth (1959) – a mini submarine
d. King Dinosaur (1954) – the atomic bomb

17. Which one of the following dino movies did not feature a flying dinosaur?

a. Destroy all Monsters (1968)
b. When Dinosaurs Ruled the Earth (1971)
c. One Million BC (1940)
d. The Land that Time Forgot (1975)

18. In the 1995 film “Godzilla vs. Destroyah”, how did Godzilla actually die?

a. Godzilla’s level of radiation rises to the point where he actually melts down
b. The Destroyah creatures succeed in penetrating Godzilla’s tough skin and devour him from the inside
c. The Super X-3 cadmium missiles kill big G
d. Little Godzilla accidentally kills big G

19. “You know, all my life I hoped this would happen. Ever since childhood, I’ve expected it. I knew these creatures were alive somewhere, but I had no proof, no scientific proof. And I had to keep it to myself or my colleagues would have laughed at me.”

This reflective speech is from what classic dino feature?

a. The Land Unknown (1957)
b. The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms (1953)
c. Baby, Secret of the Lost Legend (1985)
d. The Giant Behemoth (1959)

20. How many dinosaur films did Ray Harryhausen animate during his illustrious career?

a. four
b. five
c. three
d. six

Scroll down for answer key…

Answer Key

1. b – Honda directed 11 Toho films with dinosaurs and a total of 25 Toho films

2. b – Only the Styracosaurus is based on a real prehistoric creature

3. d – Ray Bradbury. Bradbury got his revenge when at the movie’s premiere he went up to producer Lippert shook his hand and told him that his dino movie “wouldn’t make a dime.”

4. c – “The Land Unknown” (1957)

5. a – Trog was also the last movie for screen legend Joan Crawford!

6. c – “Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah” showed how a regular dinosaur (that previously protected Japanese troops on a war-torn island) was transformed by an atomic blast into the big G

7. a – The Behemoth was intensely radioactive

8. c – In a South American jungle

9. d – The dino was invisible

10. b – “When Dinosaurs Ruled the Earth” (1971) (the animator was Jim Danforth)

11. a – There have been 12 direct-to-video sequels!

12. c – The owner of Dorkin’s Circus (actor Martin Benson) gave the creature its name for its mythological value

13. d – The little squirt appeared in five movies with his more fearsome dad

14. a – There are four dinosaurs in the movie: a Pteradon, an Ornithomimus, a Styracosaurus and of course Gwangi the Allosaurus. The Eohippus is a little horse

15. d – Willis O’Brien wrote the original story

16. b – The Plesiosaurus was destroyed by a snow plow

17. c – The Hal Roach original didn’t have a flying dinosaur

18. a – Godzilla has a literal meltdown, but his energy enters his dead son’s body and revives him

19. d – This wistful speech is from the film’s paleontologist Dr. Sampson (Jack MacGowran)

20. a – Though he filmed many experimental dinosaur projects, he only completed four: “The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms” (1953), “The Animal World” (1956), “One Million Years B.C.” (1966) and “The Valley of Gwangi” (1969)

Prehistoric Scorecard

0-5 correct: Trilobite – Yes, you are a prehistoric worm! How can you possibly know where the dino genre is heading when you don’t know where it’s been? Your destiny is to be stomped under foot by a much larger creature unless you go back to Netflix and search out some of these classic dino features. Uh oh. Did I just hear an impact tremor?

6-10 correct: Gorosaurus (from “King Kong Escapes” [1967]) – I know you think you’re good and know it all, but that’s all relative isn’t it? Sure, there are tasty young morsels for you to snack on (and gloat over), but if you don’t hit the DVR and catch up on these classic dino-mite dino movies, something bigger is going to come along and gloat (and probably snack) on you! So pick up that remote and get cracking!

11-15 correct: Rhedosaurus – All right, you deserve some props. You can kick some major dino movie butt, and you definitely can make a major city cry uncle. But you’re not there yet! If you don’t go back and re-watch some more of these dino flicks, you’ll always be susceptible to that radioactive isotope!

16-20 correct: Godzilla (King of the Monsters) – Take a bow. You’re the man (I mean the monster!). Nobody can touch you when it comes to dino movie trivia knowledge. There’s no getting around it. You’re one prehistoric bad-ass! Now I suggest you head out and stomp a city flat.

Selected References

Berry, Mark F. The Dinosaur Filmography. Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland and Company, Inc. 2002.

Galbraith, Stuart IV. Japanese Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror Films. Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland and Company, Inc. 1994.

Harryhausen, Ray and Dalton, Tony. An Animated Life. New York, New York: Billboard Books. 2003.

Marrero, Robert. Giant Monster Movies – An illustrated Survey. Key West, Florida: Fantasma Books. 1994.

Ryfle, Steve. Japan’s Favorite Mon-Star – The Unauthorized Biography of “The Big G.” Chicago, Illinois: LPC Group. 1998.

Senn, Bryan and Johnson, John. Fantastic Cinema Subject Guide. Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland and Company, Inc. 1992.

Warren, Bill. Keep Watching the Skies! American Science Fiction Movies of the Fifties (The 21st Century Edition). Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland and Company, Inc. 2010.

Webber, Roy P. The Dinosaur Films of Ray Harryhausen. Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland and Company, Inc. 2004.